Dom McDonald

Head of Education

  • Credit: Dom McDonald

Role

The Head of Education brings together all of the Ri's existing and future activities for young people, so that we can ensure they have a long-lasting and enriching experience with science and with the Ri.

About

Dom is originally from Jersey, which felt a long way from places like the Ri. But behind the hedge at the back of his house was the Maison Saint Louis Observatory, and he could see their anemometer and windvane from his bedroom window, which perhaps showed him that science can be accessible in a whole variety of ways. His time at school was spent becoming a jack-of-all-trades, and so when he came to 'the mainland' to go to university he ended up on a wonderful course which combined science, humanities and social science. Ever since, he's tried to use those different perspectives to give everyone a say in science and its role in society. That has led him to work in schools, science centres, science festivals, learned societies, the civil service, and now the Ri.

Scientific inspiration

Can I have two? My first is Mr (Phil) Stevenson who had the misfortune to teach me seven years running at secondary school. He kept me on my toes: one time he lent me a planisphere, another time he lent me the poems of James Fenton. My second would be the sociologist Robert K Merton. Not only did he lay the foundations of the sociology of science, but he also came up with lots of ideas which have become part of our everyday language. These include 'role models' and 'self-fulfilling prophecies'. If that sounds difficult to do, that’s because it is!

Favourite demo

Jersey has the second biggest tides in the world. So my favourite demo is to go down to the beach, where the tide allows you to watch the earth spinning under the moon as they both swing round the sun…

Best thing about the Ri

Its attitude to science’s role in society is still as radical now as it was when it was founded more than 200 years ago.

Related content